// Retailers express fears that shopworkers will face abuse over reintroduction of compulsory face masks in shops
// Masks will be compulsory in shops and on public transport in England from November 30
New research has found that retailers are deeply worried that their shopworkers will face abuse over the reintroduction of compulsory face masks in shops.
Health secretary Sajid Javid confirmed over the weekend that masks will be compulsory in shops and on public transport in England from November 30.
The new rules have been implemented in response to the new Omicron coronavirus variant.
The ACS has found that retailers have expressed concerns over the reintroduction of face masks and said they will not challenge rule flouters.
“We are helping retailers to prepare for the change in face covering rules, but they are extremely concerned about abuse against their staff from customers who don’t want to wear a face covering in a shop,” ACS chief executive James Lowman said.
“We will continue to urge stores to communicate the rules, but not to challenge those who refuse to abide by them.”
Shopworkers union Usdaw said the government should not have relaxed the rules on face masks in July.
“This flip-flopping on basic and sensible Covid measures and the different rules across the UK create confusion, reduce compliance and can lead to conflict,” Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said.
“Retail staff working with the public every day are deeply worried about catching Covid-19 and the arrival of the Omicron variant is a further concern. Wearing a face covering protects others, it should not be a personal preference, but a personal responsibility.
“The government must be clear and consistent on it being mandatory and that shopworkers are not expected to enforce the law on face coverings.”